A Seattle basketball fan’s guide to the 2013 NCAA tournament

21 Mar

Having trouble getting excited for the NCAA tournament this year? I wouldn’t blame you.

With Seattle University long since having crashed out in the first round of the WAC tournament, and the Washington Huskies missing out on the big dance by a big margin, March Madness is a little less exciting.

But it’s still March Madness. It’s still mad. And it’s still awesome.

Here’s five teams to keep an eye on during the NCAA tournament from a Seattle perspective, some obvious and some not-so-obvious.

New Mexico State

Seattle U’s WAC rivals are making their second appearance in as many years in the NCAA tournament. Both times, the Aggies entered the WAC tournament as something less than the favorite, but won three games to take the whole thing.

New Mexico State has a lot of talent, and a lot of promise in players like Bandja Sy and Sim Bhullar. They’ll be the odds-on favorites to win the WAC next year, too.

Louisville

Simply a very good team, the Cardinals are led by Peyton Siva from Seattle’s Franklin High School – the latest in a long line of Seattle-raised guards who will play in the NBA. Louisville might be the best defensive team in the tournament and are certainly one of the favorites to win the whole thing.

Gonzaga

The Bulldogs are what the Redhawks would love to be. The #1 team in the country boasts a ferocious frontcourt of Kelly Olynyk and the underrated Elias Harris. They’re for real.

Kentridge graduate Gary Bell Jr. helps lead the guards. Bell was recruited by virtually every Pac-10 school, but chose the mid-major Zags over programs like UCLA, Washington and Cal.

Florida Gulf Coast

After exactly six years in Division I, Florida Gulf Coast has made it to the NCAA tournament for the first time. Having already beaten Miami by 10 points this year, it’s clear they can play with anyone in the country. The #2 seed facing them, Georgetown, had better not look past them.

FGC also shows how a program can go from a lower division to a legitimate threat to win an NCAA tournament game in a short time period – but also, that to expect that type of growth in just one season is a pipe dream.

La Salle

If you want a team that plays Dollarball the way Seattle U would like to, look no further than La Salle. The Atlantic 10 school routinely starts four guards and one post, playing a high-tempo offense with lots of driving to the basket. Having a guard who can lead the team, like Ramon Galloway, always helps.

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